Centre sought fresh ban on SIMI

NEW DELHI: The Centre will soon re-invoke a fresh ban on Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.

According to the Indian Express, Home Ministry officials sources said the decision was taken after fifteen states and union territories, including Delhi sought a fresh ban against the organisation.

A fresh ban will be brought for five more years after January 2019, said sources based on assessments by investigative agencies and state police forces.

Investigators says Abu Faizal alias ‘Doctor’, a top SIMI member was arrested in December 2013 after he escaped from Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa jail along with five other SIMI members in Oct 2, 2013. Faizal was the mastermind of the jailbreak.

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As part of the ‘Maal-e-Ganimat’, which means to acquire funds by any means, Faizal’s group robbed a rural bank in Narmada in 2009. He was also involved in bank lootings in Dewas and Itarsi, in Madhya Pradesh. Faisal’s former associates, who were part of the 2013 escape was killed in an encounter in 2015 by Telangana police.

SIMI was formed in Aligarh in 1977 and had thousands of members and offices in almost every district of Madhya Pradesh before it was banned in 2002. The group is said to believe in fundamentalist Islam and to spread its values. In 2007, the Supreme Court of India described SIMI as a “secessionist movement”.

The group came under the radar of intelligence agencies after 1998 and the then SIMI president Shahid Badr Falahi was arrested in Bahraich for an alleged provocative speech days after 9/11. SIMI was declared outlawed for the first time in September 2001 for its involvement in terrorist acts and the ban was extended in 2003 and 2006.

More than 1,200 SIMI members were arrested after the ban.

With agency inputs